International Moving From USA to Any Destination

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Moving and Shipping Your Household Goods to Spain

Is it true that more Americans are deciding to move to Spain?  Yes!  Moving to Spain can be a great decision for many Americans, as it offers a lower cost of living, easy access to other EU countries, and beautiful cities for people from all walks of life. However, the process of shipping your household to Spain can be daunting, which is why it’s important to work with an experienced and reputable international shipping company.

Tenerife – view of Candelaria town with famous basilica, Canary islands        


Pulling the trigger on an international move can seem daunting, but it can be straightforward with the right preparation and partner. By working with an experienced, reputable, and responsive international shipping company like SDC, the process will be seamless. SDC is a top-tier company that will guide you every step of the way, from start to finish.          

What to Look for in a Top-Tier Door-to-Door International Moving Company

Expertise and Experience

This is obvious.  The company you work with should be very experienced and have all the expertise necessary to navigate all of the elements that come along with completing a trouble-free shipment from the USA to Spain.  Failure to work with a company that is truly knowledgeable and experienced can result in rather unpleasant, negative outcomes.  SDC has been moving household goods and personal effects to Spain for our clients for over 20 years.

A Dedicated Support Team Working With You from Booking through Delivery (door to door)

Shipping household goods and personal effects to Spain from the USA is often confused as being “simple”.   If all your T’s are crossed, I’s dotted and you are working with a very experienced shipping company, it can be.  From door to door, including navigating customs in Spain, SDC International Shipping guides you every step of the way.   We stay in communication and advise you on the paperwork and documents we need in order to make sure we clear customs at the port of entry in Spain.   Further, we deliver to your new residence (or delivery location).

Online Reviews  

Online reviews are an important and effective way to better understand the sort of company with whom you are considering working.   It is our advice to only work with companies that have 4+ star ratings on reputable sites such as Yelp and Google.

Visual Survey / Question and Answer Meeting (meet your shipper)

When it comes to getting a quote for an international move, it’s important for the moving company to really understand what they’re working with. That’s why a virtual or in-person survey is usually needed. This way, an experienced estimator can take a look at all the stuff you’re moving and any special considerations that need to be made. By doing this, the company can give you a quote that’s based on the actual volume and all of your unique needs. It’s a crucial step that ensures everyone is on the same page.


Things to Watch Out for When Choosing a Shipping Company

Broker vs. Proper Moving Company (Caution) 

Be careful when you’re looking for a moving company to help you move to Spain. Unfortunately, there are some companies out there who say they’re a moving company, but they’re actually just brokers. They might make it seem like they specialize in moves to Spain, but that’s not always the case. They’ll gain your trust and book your move, but then they’ll hire a third-party company to do the move at the lowest cost possible. So, the best way to avoid this is to make sure you’re working with an actual international moving company, not just a broker posing as one. Trust me, you don’t want to get caught in a situation like that!

Bait and Switch (low-ball) (Caution) 

This is just as it sounds.  Beware of the very low quote. Have you ever seen a new car advertised as  “starting as low as…”?   Does that mean the steering wheel, transmission and tires will cost extra?   All kidding aside, beware of the bait-and-switch or low-ball quotes.  SDC has been at this for a long time; and, we know that too often the lowest quoted price may ultimately end up as the most costly.   It may be a red flag when a shipping company quickly provides a quote, often a lower quote than others, but didn’t actually take time to understand all of the inventory, let alone the client’s needs.   Those “surprise” costs add up!

At SDC we strive to thoroughly understand all of your needs and expectations.  From there, we provide a clear, professional quotation that is as low as our many years of experience, shipping relationships and efficiencies allow.

Up-Front $ Deposits (Caution) 

Beware of any company that requires an up-front deposit.  A credit card authorization (as security) is fine, but an actual deposit could be a red flag.  SDC Intl. Shipping does not require up-front deposits, nor do we charge a credit card up-front, for 99+% of our jobs.

Consistently Poor Online Reviews (Caution) 

Just as you should look for an international moving and shipping company that has outstanding online reviews, the opposite is obviously just as important.   Look to Yelp and Google to understand what others have to say about the international shipping company that you are considering.

See SDC Intl Shipping Reviews on Yelp

See SDC Intl. Shipping Google Reviews

Lack of a Comprehensive, Professional Proposal (Caution) 

SDC will provide a comprehensive, professional proposal for your shipment to Spain.  This will spell out precisely what service is being quoted (e.g., door to door, door to port, port to port, etc.).  Further, all elements which are included, as well as any which are not included, will be clearly stated.   Be very cautious of any outfit that does not provide such a proposal!

 Top Relocation Destinations in Spain

Every country has cities with a large expat population. When it comes to Spain, major destinations include:


The SDC Shipping Process

SDC International Shipping is your best choice when it comes to selecting international movers to Spain. We take extra time to first fully understand our client’s needs.  This helps to reduce or even eliminate “surprise” charges and/or other potential troubles.  From there, the process, depending on the desired level of service (e.g., door to door, door to port, port to door, port to port, air freight, etc.) is handled by SDC Intl. Shipping.  That is from your point of origin all the way to your desired destination. As an example, let’s consider a full household move, using ocean shipping, from door to door, including full professional packing, wrapping, and protecting of all household goods.

  1. First, it is a great idea to conduct the Visual Survey in order to get to know each other better, and for SDC to understand the client’s needs and inventory. This is also an opportunity to answer any questions the client may have.  ß Very important   (Sometimes a visual survey isn’t possible.  In this case, it is important for SDC to fully understand your needs.  Sometimes we use pictures or in certain cases, we simply agree on an amount and service.
  1. After the survey is complete and analyzed professionally, SDC Intl. Shipping will then provide a Professional Quotation. This quote will clearly explain all elements of the move that are included as well as those which are not or may not be.
  1. If everything looks good, the next step would be for your SDC Intl. Shipping Relocation Specialist to provide you with an Order for Service, which is the actionable document, which once booked, initiates the entire process.
  1. Internal Support and Logistics Team gets involved- Next, an internal Support Expert for Spain is assigned. This Specialist will provide constant guidance, request the proper documents /paperwork that might be required, and stay with you from start through finish.
  1. Packing, Wrapping & Protecting, and Pick-Up- Sometimes this (packing and pick-up) is done on the same day.  Sometimes, for larger and more complex jobs, packing, wrapping, protecting, and prepping could be 1-3 days before the actual pick-up/loading.
  1. Shipping– The next step is to ship your household inventory.
  1. Customs– Unless otherwise requested, SDC Intl. Shipping will clear customs at the destination port of entry. Long before this point, your SDC Intl. Shipping Specialist will have taken care of all of the necessary paperwork.  This way, customs clearing is usually just a formality.
  1. Deliver– Unless otherwise requested, SDC Intl. Shipping then delivers your household goods to your destination residence or desired delivery location. All furniture is reassembled (if applicable), unwrapped, and placed where you would like it.  All boxes are delivered to the room or area of your home that you wish.  We then clean up all trash and depart.


Necessary Documents

SDC International Shipping’s Logistics and Support Team works with you and handles all of the documents necessary to ship your household goods, clear US and Customs in Spain, and to your residence in Spain.

What Can’t I Ship from the US to Spain with My Household Goods?

Attempting to ship a prohibiting item into Spain can derail your plans, or worse.  Keep in mind that some items are banned outright (e.g., illegal drugs), while others may only be “restricted” and require prior approval for import.   Please consult SDC International Shipping for specific information regarding what can, may, and cannot be shipped as part of your household goods shipment to Spain.

Restricted or Prohibited Items

  • Food, specifically meat or meat products, milk, and other dairy products.
  • Plant products such as flowers, fruits, vegetables, and other plants.
  • Protected wild animals or plant species.
  • Certain species of fauna and flora protected by the CITES convention (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) require a permit. This includes items such as ivory, tortoise shells, certain hunting trophies, and birds in the parrot family, among others.
  • Some medications and cosmetics may require a prescription or other certificate.

Banned Items

  • You are not allowed to take firearms, ammunition, and unapproved fireworks.
  • Products for civilian and military use, as well as counterfeit products, and waste (including radioactive materials), are banned.
  • Do not take narcotic, psychotropic, or veterinary drugs with you.
  • Taking endangered species and cultural property into Spain is forbidden.
  • Obscene or pornographic material.


Here is a helpful link for more information- Customs Guide- Spain


Aerial view of the commercial port of Valencia.

Packing and Protecting Your Household Goods

  • Standard Service (furniture) – SDC International Shipping, by default will wrap and protect all of your furniture items.  This would include items that would not normally be boxed.  For example, desks, sofas, dining tables, credenzas, beds, etc.
  • Special Enhanced Protection for Delicate and/or Specialty Items- SDC International Shipping will always provide the appropriate level of protection for your different inventory items. Items such as glass and marble tops, statues, glass china cabinets, etc, will receive the appropriate level of enhanced protection for the shipment.  At SDC, our mandate is to do everything in our power to ensure your items arrive in the exact same condition in which they left.  We are experts at making this happen.
  • Packing of Boxes There are basically 3 options when it comes to packing your boxes.
  1. Full Professional Packing Service by SDC– When it comes to boxes, the client may elect to have SDC International Shipping professionally pack all boxes, or only some of them, and create a professional inventory list. This is often helpful with customs at the point of entry.
  2. Self-Pack- Alternatively, the client may elect to self-pack (or partially self-pack) boxes for the shipment. In this case, it is important to create an inventory list.  SDC Intl. Shipping will help.
  3. Hybrid- This is an option when the client would like to self-pack most of their boxes, but leave some delicate items to be packed by the agent (SDC Intl. Shipping). For Example- the client will pack most boxes but would like SDC to pack the framed wall art, TVs, and fine china. This is a common arrangement.


  • Framed Art- SDC can pack framed wall art for our clients. Alternatively, the client may choose to pack themselves.  SDC can provide everything from standard wrapping and boxing of art, to acid-free wrapping and soft crating, all the way up to creating full, custom hard crates for your fine art. 
  • White Glove Service-  If needed, SDC International Shipping’s teams of expert packers and un-packers are happy to provide full white-glove service.


Art, Pianos, Billiard Tables, Sculptures


When shipping your Piano, Billiard Table, Fine Art, and other specialty/collectible items, they must be handled properly by an experienced, knowledgeable and capable shipping and relocation company.   If you need to ship a musical instrument, oil painting, a pool table, collectible pinball machines, or any other high-value specialty item, our team has the knowledge, experience, skills, and equipment to handle any specialty shipment, door-to-door.


Shipping by Air or by Ocean - SDC International Shipping 

Shipping Your Household Goods to Spain by Ocean or by Air

Household shipments to destinations outside North America are usually shipped by ocean freight.   A benefit is that ocean shipping is a more economical mode.  The downside however is that the total transit time is longer.  SDC Intl. Shipping is an expert in both shipping by air and shipping by way of the ocean.   Often, a combination of both may be utilized.


Shipping Your Car to Spain 

Moving your car from the US to Spain is a breeze for International Shipping. We have a team of expert personnel who know the process well and can ship your vehicle as part of your household goods shipment to Spain.  Vehicles are sometimes shipped by themselves without a container.  This is known as Roll On, Roll Off (RoRo).   No matter your need; SDC Intl. Shipping has a solution for shipping your vehicle to Spain.

  • Required Documentation Includes-
    • Original title
    • Bill of sale (if applicable)
    • EIN or Passport

Shipping Your Car


Shipping Your Motorcycle    
Can you ship your motorcycle to Spain as part of your household goods shipment?  Yes, you can!  The ownership documents required are similar to those for your automobile.  Please consult with an SDC Intl. Shipping Relocation Specialist for full details.



Pet Relocations

Can I bring my pet when moving to Spain?   Of course, you can!    When moving abroad, taking your furry friend with you is a realistic option. We employ a team of pet experts who take charge of making your pets feel comfortable and safe during transport. We also use planes to bring them to their destination fast and stress-free. Make sure to speak with one of our logistics agents about this. There are specific criteria and requirements to import your pet to Spain, including ensuring all forms, health certificates, and vaccination records are submitted before boarding.  Moving to Spain with pets is reasonably simple. There are not many vaccinations required.  Proof of rabies vaccination is required in all cases.

Important Note-   Your pet must be at least 3 months of age to enter Spain.  This is due to the fact that animals under the age of 90 days are not able to be vaccinated against rabies.

SDC Intl Shipping- Your Pet


Maritime Insurance  

SDC International Shipping offers both Total Loss as well as Full Coverage insurance options which cover your possessions from door to door.  Please contact SDC International Shipping at 888-779-3962 for details.


SDC Maritime Insurance


Healthcare in Spain 

Can US citizens get healthcare in Spain?  Yes.

Please note: Spain does not offer free medical treatment to visitors, and under European Union rules non-EU citizens are required to have travel medical insurance covering emergency medical, hospitalization, and repatriation (including the case of death).  All permanent residents of Spain are eligible to enroll in the National Health System.  However, this does not mean that long-term visa holders will receive care.

What You Need To Know About the Application Process

The first step towards gaining health insurance for foreigners in Spain is to have health insurance! It sounds like circular logic, but in order to get a residence or work visa, would-be expats must demonstrate that they carry private health insurance. The same applies to students who are not from the EU. This is so they will not be a burden to the state by arriving ill or not having adequate coverage to provide for their care should they fall ill. The process of obtaining a residence permit can be expedited by visiting a local Junta de Freguesia or Parish Council office. They will issue a certificate confirming you have more than 90 days of residency in Spain.

The next step for expats is to obtain a Spain número de contribuinte, the equivalent of a social security number. Employers usually do this on behalf of their employees but self-employed individuals will need to do it on their own.

With your SS number and residency permit in hand, you head to your local health services center. Once there, you fill out an application and receive your healthcare card, necessary for accessing the public healthcare system.

Benefits of a Private Global Health Insurance Plan

While English is widespread in Spain, there is no guarantee that an expat seeking care through the public healthcare system will have an English-speaking doctor or nurse. But by using private health insurance, an expat in need is all but guaranteed access to bilingual and multilingual staff members. Plus, private healthcare facilities are more comfortable, with a greater emphasis on patient privacy, rest, and recuperation.


One of the first steps in planning a move to Spain is to research and apply for the appropriate visa. There are several types of visas available for those moving to Spain, including student visas, work visas, and residence visas. Once you have obtained the appropriate visa, you can begin the process of finding a place to live. This may involve searching for apartments or houses to rent, or even purchasing property in Spain. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the local culture and customs, including the language and the social norms. This can be done by researching online or talking to people who have already moved to Spain. Feel free to contact us to ask any of the questions you may have if you’re planning this kind of move. We look forward to connecting with you!



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International Moving From USA to Any Destination

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